Monday, December 22, 2008

Considerations on Dupré's and other organ improvisation method

I write a few notes about the Dupré improvisation books to answer Penumbra's comment on this post.

Dupré method is easy to get, for example from here.

I studied (part) of the Dupré first book. But I would approach a similar study once you get familiar with a more free approach to improvisation. Dupré wants you to improvise in strict 4 voices using common pracitce. Too many constraints for a beginner. At least too many constraints to enjoy improvising.

It is something you can approach after some years of improvisation. There are many students that start improvising with Dupré method, but for any hobbist organist, I would not recommend this. It is just too complex. Constraints (like 4 voices - common practice) add difficulty. It is better to start constraint-less.

In my opinion a wonderful book is Fausto Caporali's one, unfortunately it is in italian only, but it is a modern book, very well written and uses a "adding constraints" approach. So the first assignments are just random notes on "random" stops. I had the privilege of studying one year in Cremona (Italy) with Fausto Caporali and those 6 lessons we made gave me really a lot.

A simple and nice book for english readers is Jan Overduin's one, doing "6 chapters per year" in few years you can achieve a good ground in improvisation while studying at the university/growing your children/doing your job at the same time...

There are many books around, and this is a good thing, because it means that "IMPROVISATION CAN BE LEARNED"!!!